Sticky date pudding doesn’t have to be a naughty dessert. With a few clever substitutions, you can have a delicious treat, without the added calories.
200g fresh dates, pitted
250ml (1 cup) boiling water
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g (1 1/4 cups) wholemeal spelt flour
70g (1/3 cup) rapadura sugar or brown sugar
60g whole almond meal (see tip)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
100g (1/3 cup) unsweetened apple puree
80ml (1/3 cup) melted coconut oil (or olive oil)
Natural yoghurt, to serve
3 tbsp rapadura sugar or brown sugar
160ml (2/3 cup) pouring cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced. Grease a round 20cm cake pan. Line with baking paper.
Place dates in a large heatproof bowl. Pour over the boiling water. Stir in the bicarb. Set aside for 10 minutes to soften, then use a fork to lightly mash.
Combine flour, sugar, almond meal, baking powder and spices in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Add apple, oil, eggs and date mixture. Stir until combined. Spoon into the prepared pan.
Line the base of a roasting pan with a tea towel. Place cake in the prepared roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to reach two-thirds up the side of the cake pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from roasting pan.
Meanwhile, for the caramel, cook sugar and 125ml (1/2 cup) water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened and reduced by half. Stir in cream and vanilla. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes, until smooth.
Spoon half the sauce over the pudding. Serve with yoghurt and remaining sauce.